Gene Sequencing Concept

‘Infinite Possibilities’ – New laws of physics can predict genetic mutations

The researchers think they can use this new law of physics to find the probability of a mutation before it happens.

A team from the University of Portsmouth has discovered a potential way to predict genetic mutations before they occur.

A new law of physics could enable early predictions of genetic mutations, according to a University of Portsmouth study.

The study found that the second law of information dynamics, or “information dynamics,” behaves differently than the second law of thermodynamics. The discovery could have major implications for future developments in genomics research, evolutionary biology, computing, big data, physics and cosmology.

Lead author Dr. Melvin Vopson is from the University’s School of Mathematics and Physics. He said: “In physics, there are laws that govern everything that happens in the universe, like how objects move, how energy flows, etc. Everything is based on the laws of physics. One of the most powerful laws is the second law of thermodynamics, which establishes Entropy — a measure of disorder in an isolated system — can only increase or stay the same, but never decrease.”

This is the undisputed law about the arrow of time, which states that time only moves in one direction. It can only flow in one direction, not backwards.

He explained: “Imagine two transparent glass boxes. On the left, you have red gas molecules that you can see, like red smoke. On the right, you have blue smoke, and between them is a Barrier. If the barrier is removed, the two gases will start to mix and the color will change. The system cannot re-separate the blue and red processes by itself. In other words, you cannot lower entropy or convert the Systems are organized to previous states because entropy only stays the same or increases over time.”

Dr. Vopson is an information physicist.His research focuses on information systems, ranging from laptop hard drives to

DNA or deoxyribonucleic acid is a molecule made up of two long chains of nucleotides that twist around each other to form a double helix. It is the genetic material in humans and almost all other organisms, with genetic instructions for development, function, growth and reproduction. Almost every cell in the human body has the same DNA. Most DNA is located in the nucleus (called nuclear DNA), but small amounts of DNA can also be found in mitochondria (called mitochondrial DNA or mtDNA).

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Dr. Vopson and colleagues analyzed Covid-19 (Sars-CoV-2) genomes and discovered that their information entropy reduced with time: “The best example of something that undergoes a number of mutations in a short space of time is a virus. The pandemic has given us the ideal test sample as Sars-CoV-2 mutated into so many variants and the data available is unbelievable.”

He continues, “The Covid data confirms the second law of infodynamics and the research opens up unlimited possibilities. Imagine looking at a particular genome and judging whether a mutation is beneficial before it happens. This could be game-changing technology which could be used in genetic therapies, the pharmaceutical industry, evolutionary biology, and pandemic research.”

Reference: “Second law of information dynamics” by Melvin M. Vopson and S. Lepadatu, 11 July 2022, AIP Advances.
DOI: 10.1063/5.0100358

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